Motherhood is a big responsibility. It consumes our time, energy and attention—and it’s worth every late night! But to give our best to our families, we need time to recharge and cultivate our own passions. This won’t happen by accident; it takes intention and time management to cultivate self-care. But as we pursue it, we find more energy and focus in our motherhood duties. We feel more fulfilled and are better equipped for motherhood’s demands. Need ideas of where to start? Here are a few things to do for yourself as a mom.
1. Make time for exercise.
You might be thinking, “Make time?! I barely have enough as it is!” But the truth? We all have the same amount of time in the day. We decide how it is used. Exercise has thousands of benefits, not the least of which are improved attitude, increased energy, weight loss and the lifelong example of good physical stewardship in front of our children.
Finding time for exercise may take some creativity. I find that the easiest time for me is at 5:30 a.m. I go to bed early—by 10 p.m.—to make this possible. Working out at night is also a possibility, but keep in mind it can hamper your sleep patterns (and you need as much sleep as you can get when you’re a mom!). Exercise can also take many forms: Pilates, running, strength training, CrossFit, HIIT workouts. Some of these are more time-consuming than others. Find what works for your stage of life, create a manageable routine and see how much it improves your outlook and energy!
2. Arrange a monthly girls’ night.
Laughter is good medicine—especially laughter among friends! Pick a night or day each month to get the girls together. There are many ways to do this: a shopping spree (even at thrift stores or garage sales!), an art gallery tour followed by dinner, a local festival or musical performance, or a new movie you’ve been wanting to see. It really doesn’t matter what you do—the company of friends is enough to breathe new life into your spirit and rejuvenate you for another month of motherhood!
My own monthly “girls’ day” is a group called The Roundtable. Ten to 15 women gather together to discuss cultural, political and spiritual issues in light of God’s Word. We usually have cake, cookies, coffee, lots of laughter and at least four hours of discussion in my living room. We look forward to it every month!
3. Take an evening bath.
This is simple and quite easy to prepare, but it does take some planning after the kiddos head to bed. Turn your bathroom into a spa by lighting candles, playing soft music and filling up your tub with your favorite bath salts and oils. Then take an hour to simply soak and read!
This is a great way to prepare for labor if you are expecting a baby. I tried to do this once a week leading up to my daughter’s birth, and took that time to read books about birth, labor and postpartum. You can also use it as a time to plan for your week in a relaxing environment, and get a jump-start on your Monday by doing it Sunday nights!
4. Read a new book every month.
Have you ever been in a reading rut? This is a great way to get out of one! Even if you’re a slow reader, a book each month is a manageable way to read new titles and expose yourself to new genres.
The library provides the most obvious resource to get started, but sometimes the titles you want aren’t available (particularly new releases). Another way to get your reading in is to invest in a Kindle. There are several bloggers who send out daily Kindle deals—my personal favorites are Modern Mrs. Darcy and Tim Challies. As someone who loves “real” books, I was averse to the Kindle at first, but I’ve found that I actually read faster on a Kindle since it shows the percentage you’ve completed in each book.
5. Save up for your favorite beauty treatment.
Weekly manicures may be out of the question right now, but a little frugality goes a long way! Saving even a dollar a day adds up in a month. If it’s been ages since your last pedicure, treat yourself to one! If the budget is tight, make a game of saving as much as you can in different parts of the budget until you have enough to go to the spa, get the haircut you’ve wanted or do that spray tan before summer.
This is not an exhaustive list of self-care ideas, but let it spark your imagination so you find ways to invest in yourself—and therefore in your family!